The $80 million Gaetz Avenue / QE2 Interchange project is running on time and on budget, according to Albertas Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation
Brian Mason says the project is part of the government’s four year capital plan which is investing $5 billion into the province’s highway network, aiming to enhance access to markets and services and make life better for all Albertans.
“It’s a three-year project that will help to create jobs and sustain economic growth in the Red Deer region and along the QE2 corridor,” Mason said during a visit to the project site on Monday. “The project will be about 50 per cent complete by the end of this fiscal year, the end of March. It remains on target for being open to traffic in 2018, in time for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.”
Scott Robinson, CEO for the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, says this is a very important project that will impact the experience of those who attend the event.
“We’re going to be welcoming over 20,000 visitors to Red Deer from certainly all across the country but also from the corridor of Edmonton – Calgary and having this interchange done and showcasing central Alberta in sort of a new and positive way and moving people safely is very important.”
RDC President and CEO Joel Ward says this project will make a huge difference for the college as well, especially with many of the Games events and Athletes Village being on their nearby campus.
“It’s going to make a huge difference to the ability of our 3,600 athletes and thousands of guests who come to central Alberta in the spring of 2019, so they’re going to see a Red Deer, they’re going to see a central Alberta that’s very different from the past when it used to be known as simply a stop on the way between Edmonton and Calgary,” said Ward. “Red Deer in its own way is starting to assert itself as a community of the future.”
Red Deer North MLA Kim Schreiner says it's a good thing for not only Red Deer City and Red Deer County, but all of central Alberta.
“This is such a good news story for anyone that travels the QE2” said Schreiner. “It’s a way of separating the high-speed traffic from people that want to come into the city and it’s about safety.”
Crews recently completed the demolition of the old southbound Highway 2 bridge over Taylor Drive and have now wrapped up major construction activity for the winter. Some work will continue to take place over the winter, so reduced speed limits will remain in effect.
Other significant project milestones in 2017 include the opening of the new northbound bridge over Taylor Drive, along with construction of the north and southbound collector – distributor road bridges over Taylor Drive. Demolition of the old Gaetz Avenue bridge and southbound Highway 2 bridge has also been done, in addition to the opening of the new north and southbound lanes along Highway 2 and a widening of the existing Highway.
Government officials say the project is supporting 300 direct and indirect jobs.
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